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Gov. Nixon Announces China Trip

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UPI/Bill Greenblatt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX/AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon plans to lead a trade delegation to China later this year.

The governor’s office on Wednesday confirmed the trade mission, though no date has been set. The delegation will include business, agricultural and community leaders.

This news comes just after the leaders of the Missouri House and Senate said they are ready to hold a special legislative session.  At the top of the list for lawmakers is a tax break package to entice development of a Chinese air freight cargo hub operation at Lambert International Airport.

Gov. Nixon has been non-committal on the China Hub issue, and some reports say the governor has discouraged Democrats from siding with pro-China Hub lawmakers. At a press conference today, House Speaker Steve Tilley said legislators have come to a compromise on an economic incentive package that includes the China Hub.

“We’ve agreed to a compromise that will create thousands of jobs,” Tilley said. “Not just in St. Louis, but in Kansas City, in Columbia, all around the state – even in rural Missouri.”

In a letter to business leaders, Nixon says the trip will partly focus on expanding export markets for the state’s farmers and businesses.

The governor says the delegation will also work on promoting investment opportunities between China and Missouri, advancing educational exchanges and developing a cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for Chinese goods. At a recent meeting of the National Governors Association in Salt Lake City, Nixon met with high-ranking officials from China to discuss what he called “a broad range of mutual interests.”

Last year, Missouri’s exports to China totaled nearly $1 billion. Nixon postponed last year’s planned trip to Taiwan and South Korea after business leaders warned that it could have endangered the cargo hub proposal.

Copyright KMOX Radio/Associated Press.

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